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Where to stay in Dubai with the kids

The Middle Eastern emirate is open to holidaymakers - here’s where to stay with the kids.

Camels drop by at Ritz-Carlton Dubai.

The sun-drenched emirate of Dubai lies on the Persian Gulf coast. It shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast.

Dubai is an ideal holiday destination for families, with plenty of theme parks, beaches and entertainment to keep everyone happy. Check out the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, or a multitude of cooling water parks.

What’s more, it’s one of the few areas in the world right now that is open for business. Dubai officially reopened its borders for international tourism on July 7 earlier this year. Travellers from all normally permitted countries are allowed to visit.

However, there are some formalities to complete. Visitors must download DHA App, the Dubai health app, bring proof of health insurance for the duration of their visit and have a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours pre-departure.

If travellers full-fill all these criteria, there is no testing or quarantine on arrival in Dubai.

Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk

This winter Dubai welcomed the largest Sofitel property in the Middle East and Africa. The 595-key Sofitel Dubai The Palm is inspired by the Luxor Obelisk in Paris’ Place de la Concorde and joins Raffles Dubai at the Wafi development, a mixed use complex including a mall, hotels, restaurants and residences. Hotel restaurants include Brasserie Boulud by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, Asian restaurant Taiko and British-style gastro pub The Nine. There’s also a L’Occitane spa and outdoor pool.

Facilities for families: Children have been central to the hotel’s planning, with a curated ‘junior guest journey’ that starts with stands at check-in so pint-sized guests can reach the check-in counter. The kids’ experience takes its theme from the French novella Le Petit Prince and child-friendly amenities include special menus, an AstroKids Club on the sixth floor and fun kids’ activities at the outdoor pool. Children can register for The Little Prince loyalty programme where children receive a personalised passport that will be stamped during their visit. The hotel is also conveniently connected to Wafi with VOX cinemas and family entertainment centre Magic Planet.

Hygiene update: The hotel has implemented all ALLSafe global guidelines. Staff have been trained according to Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing guidelines and wear masks and disposable gloves at all times. Digital signage and QR codes have replaced all printed material in guest rooms and dining spaces. The hotel offers a contactless service from check-in through to facilities bookings and food and beverage ordering. Social distancing is implemented throughout the property and guest rooms and suites undergo thorough sanitation procedures 24-hours before a guest stay. Temperatures are checked at entry and exit points.

Getting there: Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk is ten minutes from Dubai International Airport and a paid chauffeur service is available on request.

Ritz-Carlton Dubai

Having a splashing time at Ritz-Carlton Dubai.

This luxe property is located in the heart of Jumeirah Beach Residence, a waterfront community on the shores of the Persian Gulf in Dubai Marina. Ritz-Carlton Dubai is nestled amongst three acres of secluded leafy surrounds and on the beach and is an ideal retreat for families looking to escape the city. There are nine restaurants including outdoor, tented dining at Arabian-inspired Amaseena and a Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Facilities for families: The hotel’s rooms and suites boast sea-facing views from secluded balconies. Family suites and interconnecting rooms are available.

Ritz Kidz Club offers a heap of entertainment for younger guests plus there are four tennis courts, a gym and six swimming pools including two shaded children’s pools and a pool with a water slide. Water sports on the beach include kayaking, wake boarding and paddle boarding.

Hygiene update: Marriott was one of the first hospitality groups to launch an enhanced global health and safety protocol. Cleaning technologies include electrostatic sprayers with enhanced hospital-grade disinfectant in guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. Ultraviolet light technology is used to clean keys and other shared devices. Social distancing hand sanitisation stations are employed throughout properties. A food safety programme has also been introduced.

Getting there: Ritz Carlton Dubai is 30km from Dubai International Airport.

Fairmont The Palm

Dubai's Fairmont The Palm at Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai’s Fairmont The Palm is a five-star property that lies on Dubai’s most sought-after island, Palm Jumeirah. The luxury beachfront resort enjoys views over the water and the Dubai Marina Skyline.

Facilities for families: The fun never ends for children staying at this property. There’s the Falcon Kids Club with heaps of entertainment, plus a dedicated Playstation area and a ‘foosball’ table. When they’re feeling the heat, youngsters can splash-down at the Splash Pad or family pool. And there are also family-friendly beach activities and a cinema.

Hygiene update: Sofitel Dubai Downtown has implemented ACCOR ALL Safe hygiene policies as well as following all Dubai Authorities hygiene and safety guidelines. All staff must wear masks and gloves and ensure social distancing.

Getting there: Fairmont The Palm is a 25-minute drive from Dubai Airport. Unfortunately the hotel cannot arrange transportation due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Sofitel Dubai The Palm

Family fun at Sofitel Dubai The Palm.

This award-winning, five-star family hotel is located on the East Crescent of the emirate’s famous Palm Jumeirah. The property fuses a warm Polynesian-style welcome with Arabic hospitality and French style.

Facilities for families: The hotel offers 360 rooms which are a mix of rooms and suites, as well as more than 180 apartments, plus there are private villas. The one- and two-bedroom apartments are ideal for families with younger children as they are roomy and offer the option of preparing self-catered meals in the kitchenette.

The hotel’s Amura Kids Club has indoor and outdoor play areas for children aged four to 12 years. Fun facilities include plunge pools, indoor soft play areas and a toddler play area.

Further family-friendly facilities comprise two dedicated family pools, one with water slides and another for water games led by the hotel’s ‘animators’. The Waiora Aqua Bounce, an inflatable water obstacle course set-up in the sea, adds to the fun vibe.

All hotel restaurants offer kids menus and The World Eatery is designed specifically for families.

Hygiene update: Temperature checks are made using thermal cameras on arrival and guests are provided with individual sanitiser, wipes and masks. All team members are equipped with personal protective equipment. Social distancing of two metres is maintained between people and four metres between groups of people throughout the property. By the pool, groups are kept to no more than five people and two metre distancing is maintained between swimmers and loungers. Breakfast must be pre-ordered and is served as a set menu rather than a buffet.

Getting there: The hotel is 35-minutes from Dubai International Airport.

Anantara The Palm Dubai

Dive in at Anantara The Palm Dubai.

This five-star property is located on the Palm Jumeirah and boasts 400m of private shoreline and sparkling water views. The resort offers a wide range of accommodation, from rooms and suites to villas and apartments, and is the only property in the United Arab Emirates with overwater villas.

There are eight dining spaces on-site, plus a spa and plenty of water- and land-based activities.

Facilities for families: The Tuk Tuk Kids’ Club will keep littlies entertained and there’s also a Teens Club for older children. However, the wide range of activities offered outside of the kids club will keep them busy from dawn to dusk, with tennis courts, volleyball and a 50m infinity pool. Down on the beach there’s water skiing, wakeboarding, stand-up-paddle boarding, banana boating, kayaking, charter cruises and fishing trips.

Family-sized accommodation includes the Deluxe Lagoon View and Deluxe Lagoon Access rooms, which can each accommodate three adults and one child, the Deluxe Family Lagoon Access Room has space for three adults and two kids, the Anantara Two Bed Beach Pool Villa sleeps up to six and there are also family-sized apartments.

Hygiene update: The property follows company ‘Stay with Peace of Mind’ policy. Guests can check-in online prior to arrival and all luggage is sanitised on arrival. Hotel vehicles are fully cleaned after every journey. Every Anantara property has a ‘Guest Guardian’ to ensure all guest touch points comply with health and safety guidelines. Rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between guests and contain a personal hygiene kit with mask and hand sanitiser for each guest.

Getting there: The resort is a 40-minute drive from Dubai International Airport by taxi.

Sofitel Dubai Downtown

Sofitel Dubai Downtown is a short walk from the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

If you’re looking for a city break, this property is located right in the heart of the action and is a stroll from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It’s also linked by skywalk to Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls. Hotel facilities include an infinity pool, gym, spa facilities and seven food and beverage spaces.

Facilities for families: The property has nine Le Petit Prince kids’ rooms which have been specially tailored for mini-travellers. Foldable bunk beds and a roller bed mean the rooms can comfortably accommodate a family of five. Little luxuries include kids’ bathrobes, slippers and a smart TV with children’s DVDs on-demand tucked away in a special ‘kids’ alcove’.

During the day, children can escape to Le Petit Prince Kids’ Club.

Hygiene update: Sofitel Dubai Downtown has implemented ACCOR ALLSafe hygiene policies as well as following all Dubai Authorities hygiene and safety guidelines. All staff must wear masks and gloves and ensure social distancing.

Getting there: The hotel is a fifteen-minute drive from Dubai airport and transportation can be arranged at a cost of AED290 one-way.

This story was first published in the Winter 2020 edition of Asia Family Traveller magazine. Never miss an issue, subscribe now.


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